WIFIA receives record number of requests for loans; AWWA applauds program success

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works was one of 12 entities invited by EPA in 2017 to apply for a $200 million federal loan to improve its water infrastructure.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program has received a record 62 letters of interest requesting $9.1 billion in credit assistance.

“The more than $9 billion in WIFIA loans requested is nearly double our lending capacity for 2018, demonstrating the critical need for investment in our nation’s water infrastructure and strong support for EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program,” said EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator David Ross. “EPA looks forward to reviewing the letters of interest we received as we advance the President’s infrastructure agenda and help communities better protect public health and water quality.”

EPA received LOIs from prospective borrowers located in 24 states, the District of Columbia and Guam for a wide variety of projects, including wastewater, drinking water, water recycling, desalination, stormwater management and combined approaches. More than half of the LOIs addressed one or both of EPA’s 2018 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) priorities: reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants in drinking water systems and updating aging infrastructure. While the majority of prospective borrowers are municipal government agencies, other prospective borrowers include small communities, public-private partnerships, corporations, and a tribe. See the full list of letters of interest submitted.


TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EPA’S WIFIA PROGRAM, BE SURE TO REGISTER FOR THE

2018 WATER FINANCE CONFERENCE

AUGUST 28-29

WASHINGTON COURT HOTEL, WASHINGTON, D.C.


In April 2018, EPA announced the availability of additional WIFIA funding that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans. Leveraging private capital and other funding sources, these projects could support $11 billion in water infrastructure investment and create up to 170,000 jobs. Prospective borrowers responding to the 2018 NOFA were required to submit a letter of interest by July 31, 2018. EPA is currently evaluating the submitted letters of interest for project eligibility, credit worthiness, engineering feasibility, and alignment with WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria. Through this competitive process, EPA selects projects it intends to finance and invites them to submit a formal application this fall.

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) last week hailed the growing demand for WIFIA loans as a great sign for U.S. water infrastructure renewal.

“For many years before WIFIA became law, AWWA envisioned the program as a significant step toward addressing the enormous water infrastructure challenge in the United States,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “It’s great to see the hard work of so many AWWA members and our many partners in the water sector paying dividends for our communities.”

This is the second WIFIA selection round, and the program received submittals from 56 borrowers, including nine repeat prospective borrowers from the FY2017 project selection round. The projects are in 26 states and territories.

EPA said 23 of the projects were for drinking water infrastructure, four were for desalination facilities, 27 were for wastewater projects, two for stormwater, two for water recycling and four were combined projects. The agency announced in April the availability of FY2018 WIFIA funding for water infrastructure projects that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans, which could leverage more than $11 billion in water infrastructure projects.

The WIFIA office plans to announce selected projects this fall.

“The fact that one dollar from WIFIA can support nearly 100 dollars in loans makes the program a powerful force in addressing the $1.7 trillion water infrastructure challenge identified in AWWA’s Buried No Longer report,” LaFrance said. “We will continue to advocate for robust funding for WIFIA and for utilities to take advantage of this innovative new financing tool.”

To learn more about the letters of interest, visit WIFIA’s website or check out the Letter of Interest factsheet.

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